BAY COUNTY, Fla. — Stacey Redmon was a father, a husband, a veteran and a friend but unfortunately, he lost his life last week after drowning in the gulf while trying to save a child in distress.
Now, his family wants justice and are fighting for new state legislation that will prevent this from happening to anyone else.
“I see the little boy go under and the mom’s trying to reach him and I said ‘Stacey, that boy is in trouble.’ All he did was turn his head, throw his wallet down and jump in with his glasses on. That’s the said last words I said to my husband,” said Stacey’s wife, Alisha as she described the day on Panama City Beach.
She says Stacey attempted to save a boy and his mother in the gulf during double red flag conditions. “When surfers got to my husband, he told them to save those two first and that was him. He was selfless.”
The two distressed swimmers survived.
After their loss, Alisha and their three children want to make a state-wide change. “We’re going to call it Stacey’s Law. There’s needs to be a consequence. Right now there is none.”
The family started a petition to put a law in place for those who don’t follow rules during double red flag conditions.
“If you are a parent or guardian and your child is under the age of 16 and they’re in this water. You will have child endangerment charges and you will be arrested. If you’re an adult, and you do it, we will have you documented by your driver’s license. There will be a system in place, is what I’m fighting for. The second time they catch you out here, you’re fined or arrested,” said Redmon.
Redmon says the law will also force lifeguards to be on the beaches from 7:00 a.m to dusk on single or double red flag days.
That’s not all Redmon says she’s hoping to make happen. “I’m also fighting to have life-saving devices put out here. If there was some kind of life-saving device, whether it was at the lifeguard stand or out here and there’s an alarm that triggers to signal for help for EMT, we could’ve thrown that out there and my husband wouldn’t have had to die. Others wouldn’t have to die.”
Redmon says the law would also increase the signage used to display the flag system at beaches and in hotels/condos.
As she pushes for this change, Redmon continues to keep her family together but without possibly the most important piece, her husband and father of her children. “As a wife, I lost my husband. I have no one to help me now. I’m on my own. I have friends and family to help, but it’s different. My son, it’s a crucial age for him. Stacey won’t get to see my younger two graduate.”
However, she says she’s thankful for the outpouring of love she and her family have received since June 21st, and will always remember Stacey as someone everyone could count on. “That’s a hero. He didn’t stop to think. He didn’t say ‘oh let somebody else do it.’ He reacted and that’s what he was trained to do and that was his heart.”
Stacey and Alisha celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on June 11. Stacey was an army veteran and father to three children; Shelby (19), Dakota (13) and Maddie (11).
Bay County currently has a law in place allowing deputies to arrest people who disobey double red flag rules, after giving a warning first. The city of Panama City Beach does not have a law in place but after Thursday’s council meeting, an ordinance is being created for consideration.
Redmon says she will continue to reach out to state and local representatives to get the law in place and encourages all to push their representatives to pass it.
If you’re in support of Stacey’s Law and want to sign the online petition, click here.